Saturday, August 6, 2011

Bug Control

Wow, where has the time gone?  While I've been making mental notations for future posts almost daily, it's been over a month since I've checked in!  I'm hoping y'all have been as busy and I have this spring/summer and haven't noticed my lengthy hiatus.  Since I've been gone so long, I figured I had better bring some stupendous information your way to keep you coming back!

My seasoned chicken keepers out there are probably familiar with Diatomaceous Earth (DE), but I've come across so many folks who haven't heard of it that I reckon it doesn't hurt to touch on this incredible creation that needs to be a part of any chicken lovers arsenal.  Gardeners, listen up, 'cause it's also proven to be a wonderful addition to any garden shed!    First things first, how the heck is diatomaceous pronounced?  Click here, thanks to Merriam-Webster, you'll never have to wonder again.

Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is 100% natural, safe & non-toxic.  It's a fine, white powder derived from the fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of algae.  Food grade DE can be used to prevent mites & lice in your flock as well as internal parasites.  Add DE to nest & dust boxes, coop bedding, the run, sprinkle around the coop as a barrier, or apply directly to birds (under wings & around vent) if you're experiencing an infestation. Add 1 pound of DE to 50 pounds of feed to help prevent internal parasites.  You can also mix DE with water to form a slurry paint that can be brushed on roosts and other surfaces.  Gardeners, use a shaker can to sprinkle throughout your garden to help control the bugs that enjoy annihilating your fruits & veggies!

How does it work, you ask?  DE has microscopic, razor sharp edges that are harmless to humans & other large animals (chickens, dogs, cats, etc...) but are deadly to small insects.  The sharp edges cut through the insect's protective covering, drying them out and ultimately sending them to bug heaven.  If ingested, it shreds their insides.  DE is an incredible alternative to some of the synthetic insecticides on the market that kill by attacking the nervous system and require more precaution when being applied.  Will you get the same control you would get using a synthetic? Probably not, but many synthetics are no longer labeled for use around animals and food.

The best place to purchase DE is from a local feed mill, farm cooperative or garden center.  I've seen 5LB bags online for more than what a 40LB bag costs at the farm co-op.  If you live in my  neck of the woods, I just happen to work at a farm co-op and can order 40LB bags that retail for $23!  One bag goes a long way, so start with one & see how it works for you and your 2-legged friends!